The Great White Ant …

Well, finally, Australia has a government.

Colourful Christopher got in early with his claims, Bill Shorten was still swanning around in self congratulation, but it has come to pass. The coalition has the numbers, perhaps number, a plural seems a slight exaggeration.

The waffling banker  will be the Prime Minister. You could switch the initial letters around without getting further from the truth … the baffling wanker. The small L Liberals (where L is short for loyalty) can rejoice that not all of them lost their seats. Pity really. Given that both sides of politics promised to totally disregard economic reality and race us to bankruptcy, it’s a task that could have been safely left to Labor. Their track record being impeccable in that regard.

Abbott would have made mincemeat of Shorten. He could have mentioned the boats, countered the suggestion that Liberal contenders are prone to tell lies with a very brief replay of Julia promising no carbon tax and, of course, he could have promised no carbon tax. Turnbull can’t do that having promised us a carbon tax. Nor could he run on his record, waffling on like a scratched record is no substitute for achievement. Turnbull put considerably more effort into overthrowing Abbott than in winning an election. But then winning an election is a little like face to face combat, unlike shuffling around dispensing innuendo and looking for an opportunity to slip a knife in someone’s back.

The only reason for his rise to power was the fact that he looked better in the polls than Abbott. He now looks like the self made millionaire … that inherited billions. Much was made of his appeal to progressive types. It didn’t dawn on the small L Liberals that progressives would like him but not vote for him in a fit. In another era I’m sure Jeff Kennett liked John Brumby a great deal (and Abbott would positively love Bill Shorten). We all approve of weak enemies.

Turnbull has a vision, we know, it’s Turnbull, Prime Minister. Does he have a vision for Australia, I think not.

Mr Shorten is very happy with his achievement, Mr Turnbull is entirely happy with his. It’s the people of Australia that lost the election.

And the world went crazy …

I only turned around for a few days and look.

Mr Abbott gives Prince Phillip a knighthood. Mr Giles, the Northern Territory’s Chief Minister thinks it must have been April Fools’ Day.

Then that particular day came early to the Northern Territory. The CLP party room dumped Mr Giles and installed Mr Willem Westra Van Holthe as leader. The press were invited to the swearing in of the new Chief Minister. Mr Giles, however, failed to resign. Confusion reigns.

The problem for Mr W W Van H is that he needs to command a majority in the parliament, it is possible that the Giles supporters, now a minority in the CLP, might be joined by the opposition to defeat the flying Dutchman (born in New Zealand) on the floor of the house.

In an effort to avoid that Mr Van H has welcomed back a couple of loose cannons, Alison Anderson and Larisa Lee, who left the party last year and joined the Palmer United Party. When they discovered that everything within reach of that party’s leader was likely to end up as another globule of fat around His Corpulence’s waist they discovered the joys of independence. You can imagine how disciplined Mr Van H’s team will be if he gets as far as the swearing in.

The far more sophisticated Julia Gillard also found the knighthood a subject for mirth. The Sydney Morning Herald reports …

“I had this clearly eccentric idea that Australian honours should be for Australians,” Gillard replied with a cheeky grin, as the crowd – which included federal deputy opposition leader, MC Tanya Plibersek and social commentator Jane Caro – roared with laughter.

The SMH did not remind us that Ms Gillard awarded an Order of Australia to Sachin Tendulkar.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has beheaded Kenji Goto and burnt Muath el-Kaseasbeh alive in a metal cage. Nothing to do with Islam.

Back in Saudi Arabia, an Islamic State governed under sharia law …

Saudi Arabia had on Sunday beheaded a convicted murderer, bringing to five the number of people executed since new King Salman took office, continuing the kingdom’s use of the harshest punishment.

Although there might seem to be some superficial similarities “the difference is clear” …

When we do it in Saudi Arabia we do it as a decision made by a court. The killing is a decision, I mean it is not based on arbitrary choices, to kill this and not to kill this. Interior Ministry spokesperson Major General Mansour alTurki.

Greek tragedies …

Greece voted itself the contents of its treasury. It ended badly.

Now it’s voted itself the contents of the combined European treasuries. How will that work for it?

One Greek, not one much troubled by the great austerity, has been honoured by our Prime Minister. Arise Sir Phillip.

During the reign of Ms Gillard one got used to the notion that prime ministers would be cynical, lying, brazen, self serving, self indulgent, patronising, opportunistic and unpleasant. Our present incumbent is so earnest, it comes as a pleasant surprise. So earnest …

There has to be a brain in that earnest head somewhere, he was after all a Rhodes Scholar.

Nothing looks more stupid than someone so earnestly stupid.

Je suis …

Well, me, je suis me.

I’m glad I’m not Charlie, I have an aversion to being shot (and for the record, decapitated as well).

The barbarity exhibited in Paris in recent days has brought a massive response. Consciousnesses have certainly been raised.

The people, the politicians and the cartoonists have led the way.

Let’s have a look at them in a slightly different order. Monsieur Hollande has been quick to reassure France that the French way of life will endure and that this is nothing to do with Islam. Mark Steyn was not impressed

Yeah, right. I would use my standard line on these occasions – “Allahu Akbar” is Arabic for “Nothing to see here” – but it’s not quite as funny when the streets are full of cowards, phonies and opportunists waving candles and pencils and chanting “Je suis Charlie.” Because if you really were Charlie, if you really were one of the 17 Frenchmen and women slaughtered in the name of Allah in little more than 48 hours, you’d utterly despise a man who could stand up in public and utter those words.

The louder the perpetrators yell “Allahu Akbar” and rejoice that the Prophet has been avenged, the louder M Hollande and David Cameron and Barack Obama and John Kerry and the other A-list infidels insist there’s no Islam to see here. M le Président seems to believe he can champion France’s commitment to freedom of expression by conscripting the entire nation in his monstrous lie.

Is he just pandering? There are, supposedly, six million Muslims in France, and he got 93 per cent of their vote last time round. Or is he afraid of the forces that might be unleashed if the Official Lie were not wholeheartedly upheld? Stéphane Charbonnier said he’d rather die standing than live on his knees; M Hollande thinks he can get by with a furtive crouch.

Harsh words, sadly entirely fair. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the leader of the surrender monkeys, Barack Obama. Such were the forcefulness of his words I almost expected him to draw another line in the sand. Our very own Tony Abbott had a few platitudes to mouth. They ring hollow whilst section 18c remains on the books.

And the cartoonists and their employers, praising the courage of their fallen comrades, there were a couple I liked …

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… and one that M. Hollande would have preferred, what we might call the ABC approach …


… it’s all about the backlash.

Guardian Australia cartoonist Andrew Marlton was in no hurry to offend his Muslim audience. As he explained last week …

I don’t depict Muhammad because it’s probably racist and also I don’t get to put my family and my coworkers at risk of being firebombed.

Tim Blair’s turn to be unimpressed …

Now, I’m not particularly against Marlton’s gutlessness over the non-drawing of old Mo, which regrettably has become an industry-wide standard – although his line about racism is interesting (what race is he talking about?).

Instead, Marlton is awarded the yellow sash for the second part of his statement – that he fears his family or the Guardian‘s office will be firebombed if Marlton upsets Muslims.

This is a fellow who makes his living frequently ridiculing what he depicts as an exaggerated fear of Islamic terrorism and who routinely describes as bigots and idiots those who condemn Islamic terrorism. While his leftist fans just lap that stuff up, it now emerges that Marlton himself believes he is just one cartoon away from the possibility of fiery death.

Notably absent from the main stream press were the Charlie Hebdo cartoons themselves. If you need to see what the fuss was about you can find a collection <HERE>. At least one of them would be truly offensive to Muslims, much in the way that putting a crucifix in a jar of urine would be to a christian.

The people’s response was spontaneous and in many ways quite nice. Je suis Charlie, we care, we stand united against barbarism. Charlie’s next edition will happen and it will be a sellout and that is all good. And then they will go back to work and to school and then … what?

Well we wouldn’t want to overreact. Here in Melbourne, Victoria we certainly won’t. Today’s news

Khodr Moustafa Taha, 35, from Brunswick, allegedly tweeted Victoria Police with the chilling message: “I’m going to hurt your officers.”

Police raided his home and allegedly discovered ammunition and three swords.

Mr Taha, who is Australian-born of Lebanese heritage, was also accused­ of running several additional Twitter accounts­ posting material supporting Islamic State.

Another contained a ­profile picture of the al-Qaeda flag.

Police argued in Melbourne Magistrates Court last week that Mr Taha — suspected of brutally bashing his ­mother and attacking his ex-boss with a hammer — posed an unacceptable risk of reoffending.

But Deputy Chief Magistrate Jelena Popovic let him walk from court, ­

“I’ve taken a view, on ­balance, that any risk can be fixed by the (bail) ­conditions.

There’s a bad day coming folks, wrap yourself in copies of the Racial Discrimination Act and have your bail conditions ready. Be prepared for the next time you are caught in an Islamic massacre …

Spurred into action …

Up very early this morning to drive from Melbourne to the country mansion.

ABC News Radio accompanied me as far as the Great Divide. A little advert for itself assured me of the ABC’s complete lack of bias. I was so pleased to hear that because I was beginning to think that there might be a pronounced lean to the left in the ABC ranks.

The big news however was to do with Professor Barry Spurr of Sydney University. The ABC was most exercised because it seems the good professor called Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Prime Minister Abbott dog fuckers. Can you believe that? Dog fuckers. Utterly beyond belief …

Hang on I stand corrected, Professor Spurr called Tutu a witch doctor, close I guess, Mandela a darky, tactless but accurate, Abbott an abo-lover, terribly rude. And it was in fact the ABC itself that called some middle-aged white guy a dog fucker. Terrible this name calling.

Promises, promises …

This blog is not a dedicated travel blog although I really do enjoy writing about my journeys and whenever I do the blog picks up a bunch of new followers. This is the case again with the Madagascar series that I have started and will resume. So welcome to those of you that have just come on board. Some of you are from the USA and given that freedom of speech is guaranteed by your constitution you are going to be surprised to find that Australians enjoy no such privilege. It is no where enshrined in our constitution so for us it is a case of eternal vigilance …

It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active.  The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” — John Philpot Curran, 1790.

Debate in Australia is often vigorous, sometimes abusive and I think that all to the good. But, with the best intentions I’m sure, a past government thought that with regard to some aspects of our little selves we are so weak, so insecure, such shrinking violets that we must be protected from anything that might cause us offense. We have a public broadcaster that thinks it is fine to put to air a depiction of a critic having sex with a dog and label him, on screen “dog fucker” but …

(1)  It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:

                     (a)  the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and

                     (b)  the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.

It is the easiest thing in the world to take offense, and being thus offended shut down debate on any subject that touches on race. We have a welfare system that is different for indiginous Australians  than for the rest of Australians. Discussing it might cause offense. Let’s not discuss it here.

The recently elected government led by Tony Abbott promised to rid us of this constraint on free speech. Today it has announced that it will break that promise. I am deeply offended.

Electricity Bill …

Ms Gillard promised she would not introduce it.

She and Mr Swan heaped scorn on the then opposition for the suggestion that Labor would introduce it.

The nation saw Labor as liars when they did introduce it.

Energy prices and business costs have gone up because of it.

An optimistic forecast of its effect … restraining the increase in world temperature by 0.0034°C by 2100.

Prior to the last election Labor promised to abolish it.

The electorate certainly gave the Coalition Government the mandate to abolish it.

Today Labor joined with the Green to frustrate its removal.

It may be detrimental to the economy, useless for the environment but anything that hampers Australia’s recovery is good news for Labor because it reflects on Abbott.


Boats, what boats … ?

Mr Abbott’s new policy of not telling the media about illegal boat arrivals is not a policy I like. It does make it difficult for the interested observer to judge whether Mr Abbott’s key promise is being made good.

On the other hand, when was it the job of government to do the news gathering for the media? There was a time when news reporters went out and gathered it for themselves. There is nothing to stop them putting a reporter on Christmas Island and watching the docks. It’s a job I wouldn’t mind myself, despite the lack of ice-cream.

Temperament …

“There are, in my opinion, difficult times which lie ahead and I sometimes question, I really do question, having known Mr Abbott for a long, long time whether he really has the temperament for that sort of thing,” Mr Rudd told Today Tonight.

“You have got to sit back and think and calmly reflect and then work through what the best decision is and judgment and experience are quite important.